Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / The Shield

Go To
The Hounds of Justicenote 

"We're not renegades. We're not mercenaries. We're not The Nexus. If you're lookin' for the nWo, go buy the DVD. We're about principles. We're about honor. Where honor no longer exists, we're going to step in. We're a shield from injustice... we are The Shield."


The Shield (nicknamed The Hounds of Justice) was a professional wrestling stable in WWE, founded by Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins. The black-clad group debuted in November 2012 at the Survivor Series pay-per-view during the CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship. The trio made an immediate impact as they attacked Ryback and put him through the announcer table, using their triple powerbomb maneuver to incapacitate him. After that, The Shield ran rampant in WWE, destroying anyone who got in their way. As part of their gimmick, their goal was "bringing justice" to WWE, even if it meant attacking fan-favorite wrestlers for no apparent reason.

By August 19, 2013 Raw, they were clearly the hired goons of The Authority, the new group of Vince and Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Randy Orton, Kane, and Brad Maddox. The group began to distance itself from the Authority in 2014, ultimately pulling a face turn and finally breaking away from the Authority the night after WrestleMania XXX. As a result of said distancing, the Authority re-formed Evolution to deal with the Shield & the two factions feuded until the night after Payback, when Rollins turned on Ambrose and Reigns. Reigns and Ambrose, whilst still remaining allies, went their separate ways the following week.

At one point during the time the stable was active, each member held a WWE title: Ambrose was WWE United States Champion for 351 days (the record for longest reign of any United States champion since WWE acquired the title from WCW), and Reigns and Rollins were WWE Tag Team Champions together under the banner of the Shield. Rollins also was the first to hold the NXT Championship before the Shield's run. Each member would also eventually go on to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (by pinning each other, no less).

On the October 9, 2017 episode of Raw, the Shield finally officially reunited when Rollins and Ambrose joined Reigns again to destroy The Miz, his Miztourage (Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas), Braun Strowman, and The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro). Although this run was cut short by an injury to Ambrose, they reunited again at the end of the RAW after SummerSlam 2018 when Ambrose and Rollins came out to save Universal Champion Reigns from a Money in the Bank cash-in by Braun Strowman.

Unfortunately, the Shield dissolved once more on the October 22, 2018 episode of RAW after Reigns was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship and take a hiatus from wrestling thanks to the return of his leukemia. That same night, after winning the RAW Tag Team Championships for the second time, Ambrose snapped and turned on Rollins, ending the Shield for the foreseeable future...

...which lasted for all of 5 months, when Reigns returned after announcing that he had entered remission and was thus clear to wrestle again. Upon coming back, he motioned to reform the Shield one more time given that Ambrose had officially announced his decision to (legitimately) walk away from the WWE. Despite not giving a clear-cut answer when both Rollins and Reigns saved him from several attacks despite his attitude towards the both of them since October, he finally relented to a final reunion. Unfortunately, this was almost certainly a "final" reunion as Ambrose left WWE in early 2019 and proceeded to effectively burn his bridges with the company, making a later return to them and one more reunion of the Shield extremely unlikely.

Not to be confused with the FX cop drama, the Marvel Comics agency or the Archie Comics superhero.


  • The Ace: Putting aside the fact that all three are former WWE Champions. Once The Shield was fully gone by 2019 and all three went their separate ways, they all ended up as wildly successful singles wrestlers. Seth Rollins became the first full-time wrestler to beat Brock Lesnar cleanly since John Cena in 2012 and remains a consistent main-eventer. Following his Face–Heel Turn, "The Tribal Chief" Roman Reigns has become a full-on Invincible Villain. Holding the Universal Championship for two years, becoming the longest world champion in history since Hulk Hogan. Last but not least, Dean Ambrose now known as Jon Moxley, has become the MVP of AEW becoming it's first ever two-time world champion and having the company's longest singles winning streak. Even when separated, The Shield rules Professional Wrestling. Notably, from 2015 through to 2022, the #1 spot in the PWI 500 was occupied by either a member of The Shieldnote  or by other notable wrestling aces, Kenny Omeganote  & Kazuchika Okada note .
  • Alternate Company Equivalent:
    • In aesthetic, tactics and roles, The Shield resembled the Japanese stable Crazy MAX from Toryumon Japan, almost to Captain Ersatz levels. They similarly wore black military outfits, came through the crowd, used tight teamwork which made them difficult to beat, had a characteristic aura of invincibility, and were also a Terrible Trio composed of a cocky leader (CIMA/Rollins), an unpredictable psycho (SUWA/Ambrose) and a quiet brute (Don Fujii/Reigns). They were also associated for a time with a scheming manager figure (TARU/Paul Heyman).
    • A heel faction containing some of the best workers in the company combining brutal tactics with complete unison between the members and a sense of righteous purpose which some fans actually agree with, subsequently becoming super popular in spite of their villainous status as a result. They eventually come to serve as the enforcers for somebody's power trip/conspiracy, only to eventually turn against said outfit and make their purpose true as a face faction. Moreover, this doesn't seem to have ever been the original plan. Now who are we talking about, the Shield or TNA's Fortune stable?
    • As odd as it may sound, and combining this with Distaff Counterpart, TNA's The Beautiful People. Both groups' original goal is to purge their companies of something ("injustice" for The Shield, "ugly people" for TBP). The Shield's members and TBP's most iconic Power Trio incarnation (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, Madison Rayne) all became successful singles wrestlers post-breakup. Two members have remained close during the group's hiatus (Roman/Dean, Angelina/Velvet). Both groups had a member hailing from a notable Wrestling Family (Roman/Lacey Von Erich). Both groups had a member who ended up marrying a backstage interviewer-turned-commentator (Dean/Madison).
  • Always Someone Better: The Shield have dominated the tag team division for nearly the entire of 2010s with the exception against The Wyatt Family, who usually came out the victor of their match.
  • Animal Motifs: The Shield were frequently compared to a pack of wolves or wild dogs during their gang attacks, which eventually escalated to them being nicknamed the Hounds of Justice & referring to the WWE ring as their "yard" - understandably, they used this as part of their feud against The Undertaker during his run in 2013. Their entrance video & merchandise, whilst still retaining the overall theme of a mercenary group, added similar elements - for example, the opening of their entrance video changed from spelling out "SHIELD" as the NATO Military Alphabet was spelt out in their theme song, to the glowing eyes of three rabid dogs. Commentator Corey Graves frequently punctuates their triple-powerbomb with the phrase "Summon the Cerberus!"
  • Anti-Hero: After they turned face, The Shield continued displaying similar tactics to the ones they used as heels, just against different targets.
  • Arc Words: JUSTICE.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Shield made it a point to make a lot of enemies on the roster, but make no mistake, they did have their favorite targets and/or those that managed to get under their skin at times.
    • Team Hell No, culminating in Rollins and Reigns taking the WWE Tag Team Championship away from them. At the same time, Team Hell No along with Randy Orton were responsible for their first defeat in six-man tag matches.
    • The Wyatt Family, probably their most prominent one. The Wyatt Family's interference in one of the Shield's six-man tag team matches caused a DQ loss for the team, locking them out of the 2014 Elimination Chamber. The Wyatts consistently got the best of them until their third match together, and even after both trios broke up, Bray Wyatt still makes it a point to torment the Shield boys. The only one he hasn't gone after is Rollins, and that's most likely because Rollins was a heel and firmly under the protection of the Authority. After Rollins turned back to face and Bray was traded back to RAW, Rollins immediately became one of his next targets.
    • Evolution. Hunter knew they were going to be a problem if left unchecked, especially after they defected from the Authority, and re-formed his old stable to deal with them. Unlike the above examples, the Shield did establish their superiority over Evolution, remaining undefeated in their two matches with them. However, Hunter was the one to ultimately break up the Shield, convincing Seth to turn his back on Dean and Roman. Ultimately, the real Arch-Enemy ended up being Triple H himself, and all three ended up hating him for his actions — Seth in particular came to despise Triple H the most after Hunter inevitably betrayed him, finally acknowledging that his former mentor effectively manipulated him into making the worst mistake of his life and used him for his own agenda.
    • The Miz and The Bar in their 2017 run.
    • Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre in their 2018 run and 2019 last stand. Initially Corbin was the Corrupt Corporate Executive and McIntyre stood among The Dogs of War with his tag team partner Dolph Ziggler and Reigns' Arch-Enemy Braun Strowman, but over time Strowman and Ziggler were both discarded by McIntyre, Corbin was deposed of his authority, and the two aligned with Bobby Lashley instead as The Shield's final PPV opponents.
  • The Artifact: Reigns still utilized the military attire and (remixed) theme song of The Shield, following the group's dissolution.
  • Badass Creed: "Where honor no longer exists, we're going to step in. We're a shield from injustice... we are The Shield."
  • Badass Crew: A trio of young wrestlers fresh off of NXT invade the WWE and win their first six PPV tag-team matches. All but one of those matches involve some combination of the following wrestlers: Ryback, John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Randy Orton, Sheamus, and The Big Show. Seven wrestlers with a combined 36 world championship reigns (WWE or World Heavyweight) amongst them at the time... and each combination of them lost to a team of rookies. Oh yeah, and they also hold clean victories in 6-Man Tag matches against Team Hell No and The Undertaker, as well as Team Hell No and then-reigning WWE Champion John Cena (who was pinned by Roman Reigns after a Spear). All of that is the very definition of badass.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: The Shield had this kind of formation, with Ambrose as the balance, Rollins as the speed and Reigns as the strength.
  • Bash Brothers: They even treat each other as brothers and refer to themselves as such.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: Ironically, the teams that are most effective against The Shield are the ones who turn their tactics against them. Their first defeat as a team comes when the numbers game (their favorite tactic) is turned against them. The second defeat comes from the numbers game turning on them again, with one of their members being beaten down, and the distraction allowing for the pin on the partner. For added insult, the Finishing Move that scored the win was the Spear, the same move Reigns loves to ambush distracted people with.
  • Berserk Button: Attacking one member of the Shield will inevitably piss the other two off. During their second run, when Samoa Joe put Ambrose on the shelf for nine months, both Rollins and Reigns took it badly — Rollins would Death Glare anyone that so much as mentioned Ambrose, while Joe became Reigns' personal button for several weeks, followed by constant beatdowns, until he finally got his revenge on Ambrose's behalf.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Roman is the oldest and the physically strongest, and subsequently the most protective. He will not hesitate to attack anyone to protect Ambrose and Rollins. That being said, Ambrose and Rollins also have shades of this, which was shown during the Shield's second match with Evolution; at different points in the match, Ambrose and Rollins practically threw themselves at all three members of the opposing team just to protect the other two.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the April 7, 2014 post-WrestleMania episode of RAW, the Shield arrive to put the hurt on Triple H and the Authority, preventing Daniel Bryan from getting screwed out of the title again.
  • Blatant Lies: Their claims about standing for justice became sketchier and sketchier since their debut, were belied by an incident where it was revealed that they assaulted Brad Maddox (and generally did everything they did that benefited CM Punk) on Paul Heyman's orders, and finally became completely meaningless when they became Triple H's personal security and actively helped screw Daniel Bryan at every turn.
  • Bond Breaker: Seth's betrayal of Roman and Dean to join The Authority, causing the initial dissolution of the Shield. That very act left a scar on the team that never fully healed, despite the fact that all three honestly and genuinely do love each other. After Seth's Heel–Face Turn, they manage well-enough with reunions when it's all three of them together on the same show. But when they're not, things fall apart immediately: when Roman had to take a break from WWE to have his leukemia treated, Dean snapped that very same night and turned on Seth. Later, after Dean left the company, Roman and Seth gradually drifted apart, and their subsequent feud in 2022 revealed that despite acting otherwise for years, Roman never forgave Seth for what he did and explicitly hates him for it. It seems that no matter how much they try, no matter how much they truly care for each other, all three of them are always going to be at a distance because of what Seth did.
  • Book Ends:
    • Their debut, dissolution and subsequent reunion occurred at the same location: Indianapolis.
    • Their inaugural World championship wins came after defeating the other Shield Member: Rollins defeats Reigns, who defeats Ambrose, who defeats Rollins to complete the triangle.
    • Their first match and reunion match involved facing Kane as an opponent at TLC.
    • Their first match in the WWE took place at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York. Their final night together in the WWEnote  took place in the same building.
  • Breakout Character: The Shield is one of the most popular and successful groups in WWE history.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Decided it would be a great idea to target Mark Henry. He was not happy.
    • They also decided to interrupt The Undertaker, of all people, at one point.
    • When their crusade against CM Punk and Daniel Bryan was rudely interrupted by The Wyatt Family, none of the three Shield members showed the slightest hesitation to get up in the Wyatt's faces and challenge them. Keep in mind that the Wyatt Family is a creepy cult of backwoods hillbillies with an Ax-Crazy leader, and the mere sight of them is enough to give most badasses pause. Say what you will about them, but Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns aren't afraid to stand up to anyone.
    • The Miz, his Miztourage, and The Bar decide to basically team-up and pick on all three of them, attempting to get into their heads, and causing rumors about the Shield reforming. When Miz however decides to bring up said rumors, Roman Reigns is happy to correct him on one thing...
      Roman Reigns: Who said anything about rumors?
      [In quick succession, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins join him]
  • Catchphrase: "Believe in the Shield!"
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder:
  • Combat Pragmatist: Applies to each members of the group.
    • Roman Reigns played college and professional football, so he simply resorts to using a hard, fundamental form tackle as his finisher. It just happens to already be an established, devastating wrestling move known as the Spear.
    • Seth Rollins' Curbstomp is arguably MORE effective than it is practical. It doesn't get much simpler or more painful than simply leaping and slamming your opponent's face into the mat with your boot.
    • When a fight breaks out, Dean Ambrose pretty much turns into that guy playing a wrestling video game who only holds down the run button and does nothing but spam the attack and grapple buttons. A lot of times, Ambrose looks like he's not even doing a move— he just jumps at anything that's moving and not on his side, then starts throwing punches.
  • Competitive Balance: Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns each have different skills and weaknesses, listed elsewhere on this page.
  • Cool Mask: Oh, yeah. They debuted these entrance-only masks at WrestleMania XXX, but didn't wear them in every entrance from then on. They all stopped wearing them entirely when the group split.
  • Cool Versus Awesome:
    • The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family. A team of mercenaries consisting of an unstoppable force, an unhinged maniac, and a strategically-minded acrobat competing against a charismatic cult leader and his two monsters? It's a big deal, to say the least.
    • Their feud with Evolution, pitting three of the WWE's rising stars versus three of the most established veterans in the industry.
    • The Shield vs The New Day, culminating at Survivor Series 2017. Fans really enjoyed their interactions, and were chanting for both teams during the match.
  • The Corrupter:
    • Depending on your point of view, they may have been this to Ryback, who turned heel after fighting and losing to them one time too many.
    • Played straight with Daniel Bryan, who went off the deep end thanks to their Breaking Speeches, in addition to losing the tag titles.
      • However, on the June 14, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Bryan made Rollins tap out to the No Lock, marking the first time the Shield has lost a six-man tag team match ever.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs:
    • Downplayed version. Anyone who had been a regular watcher of FCW were probably stunned to see Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins working together, considering their heated rivalry during the last year of the territory's existence, which had no less than five televised matches, including three successive iron man matches for the FCW 15 title, each longer than the last, the first two ending in a draw with no falls and the last ending in sudden death overtime (which Seth won), and the last being the FCW Heavyweight Title. One must imagine how rocky the early days of the stable's existence were, or how long Heyman's plan must have been in works, for Ambrose and Rollins to be on the same page, let alone consider each other "brothers".
    • The re-formation of the Shield in 2017. While Reigns and Ambrose have never truly hated each other, and have always been allies, it's pretty awesomely surreal to see Traitorface himself go from the company's biggest heel all the way back to babyface tag-teaming with Ambrose. The roof practically blew off the building on the 10/2 episode of Raw as Reigns was joined by his Shield brothers in alliance against the Miztourage.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The dissolution of the stable proved to be this for all three members, as it embittered each of them in different ways. None of them were ever the same after the Shield broke up, and it ended up affecting the trajectories of all three of their careers. For elaboration:
    • Ambrose ended up with a major chip on his shoulder (to accompany the one he already had before the Shield) that persisted throughout even the Shield's second run, while also becoming disillusioned with the company altogether and leaving in 2019 to jump ship to AEW. Despite that, he was the only one to really make peace with what happened and overall it left him jaded, (more) violent, and, ironically, stabler than he was before.
    • Rollins rode high off his betrayal by joining The Authority — only for his first world title reign to end in disaster after he got injured towards the end of 2015. After that, he was never able to recapture his previous success and was eventually betrayed by his Evil Mentor Triple H, at which point he was left on his own in the middle of a hostile locker room. He spent the next several years trying to redeem himself and reconcile with his two "brothers", but only managed that with Ambrose, and his big face run collapsed thanks to terrible booking and his own out-of-kayfabe behavior, forcing him to make a Face–Heel Turn just to save his character. These days he functions as a delusional Psychopathic Manchild with a messiah complex who is one of the most hated and despicable wrestlers on the roster.
    • Reigns had the worst of it all, as he was never able to get over the end of the stable. The end of the Shield began his much reviled face run, where he was pushed to the moon as the next John Cena in hopes of making him the company's next big star, only to instead become its most polarizing performer instead. This, combined with other outside factors, prevented him from having an extended world title reign. In addition, his best friend Ambrose ended up leaving the company, and he was never able to truly reconcile with Rollins. When the company started freezing him out at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic in retaliation for his decision to stay home in order to protect his family, Reigns finally snapped and became a sociopathic dollar store crime boss who regularly physically and emotionally abuses his family into doing his bidding.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Roman Reigns had this in Survivor Series 2013, when he eliminated four of a five-man team. Seth Rollins also got one in the final Smackdown of 2013 where he managed to push John Cena to the limits in singles competition. He lost, sure, but he definitely left an impression.
    • Reigns got another one at the Royal Rumble 2014, where he made his Rumble debut in a big way, staying in for over 30 minutes and breaking Kane's 13 year record by throwing out 12 people.
    • This has occurred for each of the members of The Shield, where each man was positioned as the group's figurehead for a time: Ambrose served as this sometime after the faction's debut (he was the first opponent The Undertaker faced in singles competition on Smackdown since his part-timer status), Reigns got his from Survivor Series 2013 until the Wyatt feud, and Rollins had his following the group's Heel–Face Turn. Even then, there was still a strong emphasis on portraying the trio as equals.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Individually, all three members of the Shield have beaten John Cena on seperate occasions and due to his place in the company, it could count as this for the three men.
    • Braun Strowman has been wreaking havoc on raw after his separation from the Wyatt family, taking out everyone on his path even top stars like John Cena and AJ styles are helpless againts him. It is until he faces off with Roman Reigns that he suffers one of his first singular defeats in the company.
    • In 2019 ever since his Heel–Face Turn, Seth Rollins manages to take hundreds of levels of badassery that allowed him to edge out a victory over Brock Lesnar.
  • Determinator: All of them. It takes a lot to put the Shield down, and according to them, nothing short of a nuclear blast can keep them down.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: They did this frequently after defeating nearly every 3 man team thrown together to face them. Especially in their early run when they were seen as young hot shot rookies who weren't household names.
  • Disappointed in You:
    • Reigns could never find it in himself to truly hate Rollins after the betrayal. Regardless of everything that happened between them, Reigns still saw Rollins as his little brother, and while initially hesitant to accept his help, eventually did forgive him.
    • This also applies to Ambrose and Rollins to a lesser extent. Unlike Reigns, Ambrose genuinely did hate Rollins — but not as much as everyone believed, because that hate was born out of the love he once had for him. After getting his revenge, Ambrose's stance on Rollins softened, and when the latter started making genuine efforts to reconcile with him, couldn't find it in himself to completely turn him away.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The words "Sierra Hotel India Echo Lima Delta. Shield." from their opening theme? Recorded by the guys themselves. Sierra and Echo were done by Rollins, Hotel and Lima by Ambrose, and India and Delta by Reigns.
  • The Dreaded: During their initial run, the Shield was the most dominant force in the company. Hearing their music sent many a wrestler, all over the card, into Oh, Crap! mode. Even after they broke up, the idea of the three ever reuniting is enough to terrify everyone except those who stand at the very top of the card — the very top, seeing as all three in the interim had become main event caliber competitors and world champions. So Miz's sheer look of disbelief and fear in realizing that his decision to antagonize all three resulted in the Shield's reformation is very understandable.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Ambrose makes a quick cameo in CM Punk's DVD Best In The World, backstage and talking with Punk. Rollins and Reigns (then called Leakee) appeared in a promo about John Cena at Elimination Chamber 2012.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: They were clad in turtlenecks in their debut instead of their iconic military attire.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Inverted, then played straight on the November 11, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. After interfering in the main event, the Wyatt Family finds itself in the ring with the teams of Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins and CM Punk/Daniel Bryan. CM Punk shoves Rollins into Luke Harper, who in turn pushes Rollins away, damn near out of the ring. Rollins takes exception, and boom. Two heel teams going at it, despite a common enemy... until they realize that they should go after Punk and Bryan instead of fighting one another.
    Bray Wyatt: [during a standoff that occurred after the short brawl] We're the same! We have a common enemy! WE HAVE A COMMON ENEMY! [points to CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, who are outside of the ring]
    • Subverted during the feud between The Shield and The Wyatts, as The Shield had been collateral damage to some of the Family's sporadic actions. For reasons, they attacked the team of John Cena, Sheamus, and Daniel Bryan during a 6-man tag match with the Shield, where all 3 winning members qualified for the Elimination Chamber WWE World Heavyweight Title match, giving the face team the DQ win and thus disqualifying The Shield from a chance at the title through no fault of The Shield. This pissed the group off to such an extent that they went directly against Triple H's orders to pick a fight with the Family.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In his Boisterous Weakling phase in early 2014, Ambrose often engaged in moments of cheap posturing and petty oneupsmanship, which is where Reigns and Rollins both began to draw the line. This included attempting to eliminate Reigns in the 2014 Royal Rumble, which sent an internal torpedo to the typical "stable plans to eliminate everyone else in a battle royal or multi-man match before having it out themselves" angle, and attacking Mark Henry after Reigns had already defeated Henry clean in about three minutes flat. This would typically get reactions of disappointment from his partners.
    • On the March 17th, 2014 episode of RAW they were called in by Kane to attack Jerry Lawler under false pretenses that he was in cahoots with Daniel Bryan's YESMovement because it took place in Lawler's hometown. Coupled with the fact that Jerry had suffered a heart attack, as well as it was obvious to anyone that he was innocent, The Shield decided not to attack Lawler because it would not be in the name of JUSTICE.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Teased at one point with an in-ring confrontation with The Wyatt Family that stopped before it went anywhere. Later came out in full force as the Family's decision to target John Cena had the side effect of screwing the Shield out of a championship opportunity, resulting in the Shield challenging the Family to a match set to happen at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.
  • Exact Words: Their first interview has Michael Cole asking them if they are working for CM Punk. Ambrose says no, they aren't, which is completely true: they're not working for Punk, they're working for Paul Heyman on Punk's behalf.
  • Expy:
    • The group's "holding a hand-cam on themselves at arm's length" promos are almost identical in appearance to scenes of The Joker taken from The Dark Knight. Ironic, considering that Ambrose has been compared to Heath Ledger's The Joker.
    • The stable itself has drawn some very obvious comparisons to other stables, including:
      • The Nexus, who, coincidentally, also made their debut in a match involving John Cena and CM Punk. That's only the tip of the iceberg. Both debuts involved Ryan Reeves in some way. As Skip Sheffield, he was one of the eight members of the Nexus involved in the attack on the WWE Raw set, while as Ryback, he was the main target of the Shield's first attack. Even more ironic is the fact that both stables had a former ROH World Heavyweight Champion as a member: in the Nexus's case, Daniel Bryan (although he was gone in a week), while in the Shield's case, Seth Rollins, known in ROH as Tyler Black. All of this, of course, wasn't lost on Ambrose, who promptly rebuked those comparisons.
      • The Nexus splinter group, The Corre. Both stables focused on unity over solidarity, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and teamwork above all else. Although, they seemed to be more of a foil, as the Shield lasted much longer and established a much greater presence than the Corre ever did due to no member being entirely hypocritical about these claims.
      • There's also the original Brood. Three men, including two former heated rivals, come together and form a Terrible Trio whose unconventional tactics combine unity with brutality and leave foes strewn about in their wake. They are absorbed into an evil conspiracy/power trip which they eventually rebel from in response to being manipulated or abused, resulting in a Heel–Face Turn and a feud against loyal agents of the ever-nefarious Power Stable. Months later, the man regarded as The Chessmaster and The Heart of the team betrays them out of nowhere, the previous heated rivalry resumes twofold, and the two remaining members remain friends in the aftermath. And that's before getting into each man arguably being a raw composite of several predecessors, with Edge included in all three formulas.
      • See Alternate Company Equivalent above for both Crazy MAX and Fortune.
  • Finishing Move: For the group, the Triple Powerbomb. Check out each member's trope pages for individual Finishing Moves.
  • Foil:
    • To The New Day, something that was highlighted at their match in Survivor Series 2017. Both are trios with heavy emphasis on camaraderie and brotherhood, but while the Shield are serious types that were hellbent on dominating WWE, either as a group or individually, the New Day are more-or-less lethal joke characters that happen to be extremely competent. The Shield wear darkly-colored SWAT gear as ring attire, the New Day revel in their campy and brightly-colored tights and shirts. The New Day's entrance has them entering from the stage and dissing their competition on their way down the ramp. The Shield enter silently from the stands and rarely horse around in the ring. The members of the Shield were rookies that banded together to make an impact for their debuts and used the popularity of their faction to springboard their singles careers. The New Day were originally three wrestlers drifting on the card that united together and became relevant again as one of the most popular acts in WWE. This even applies to the individual members, as seen in the actual match:
      • Dean Ambrose and Kofi Kingston, as the two most decorated members of their teams. Both of them were the first member of their respective stables to become Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champions; conversely, Ambrose was the last member of the Shield to win a world title while Kofi was the first. Coincidentally, Ambrose's first singles (U.S.) title came by beating Kofi.
      • Seth Rollins and Xavier Woods. Besides the intense love of video games, both are the respective "strategists" of their teams. Rollins is the one who makes up the plans that Ambrose and Reigns follow, and during their first run was the glue that held the team together. Xavier doesn't take part in the New Day's regular tag matches often, content to stay on the sidelines and provide support, and when the referee is distracted, helps the team cheat to win.
      • Roman Reigns and Big E. Langston are the "muscle" of their respective groups. Reigns' spear is the most devastating singles Finishing Move in the Shield's arsenal (followed closely by Ambrose's Dirty Deeds), and his power is the backbone of the team's signature triple powerbomb. Big E's power provides a similar backbone for most of the New Day's tag team maneuvers, not just their Finishing Move, and he is widely regarded as the most effective member of the New Day as a singles competitor.
    • To Evolution. By the time of their feud, both stables were comprised of members that had the potential to be single stars on their own. The difference is, Evolution's members had already fulfilled that potential — the Shield were still technically rookies, who individually weren't quite on the level of their respective counterparts yet, but together trumped the full force of Evolution, who had a hard time co-existing as a unit because the sheer amount of bad history between them. To say nothing of the fact that the Shield maintained themselves as a stable of equals, while Evolution initially only existed to keep Hunter on top and help him escape Shawn Michaels's shadow, and then reunited because they wanted to get rid of The Shield. As far as individual members go:
      • Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton. Orton's ousting from Evolution was his Start of Darkness, and it was only after he was driven to complete insanity five years later that he was finally able to get his revenge on Triple H for what happened, by wreaking havoc on his life and terrorizing his family. By contrast, Ambrose's snapping point was not being ousted from his stable, but rather a fellow member betraying him and Reigns — Rollins. Unlike Orton, Ambrose's insanity and out-of-control behavior proved to be a detriment, and as time went on the stable's break up actually caused him to gradually develop into a more collected (if still certifiably insane) individual. Ambrose only achieved his goal to get revenge on Rollins by waiting for an opportune moment and allowing Rollins to dismiss and underestimate him. To even further deepen the divergences their characters went through, Orton continued to grow even more insane over the years despite finally moving on from Evolution's betrayal, whereas Ambrose (after a brief bout of instability in late 2018/early 2019) ended up becoming the stablest member of the Shield. After he left the company and ended any hopes of a Shield reunion for the foreseeable future, Rollins and Reigns were put on different shows, drifted apart, and eventually made heel turns that saw both of them undergo a severe amount of Sanity Slippage, so much so that they made Ambrose at his worse look positively sane by comparison.
      • Seth Rollins and Triple H. Rollins broke up the Shield in order to ally himself with The Authority for greater opportunities and perks. Hunter kept Evolution together just to have some people back his world title reign, only to kick out Orton when he beat Chris Benoit and took the spotlight off him and then try to manipulate Batista into jumping to SmackDown! after the latter won the 2005 Royal Rumble and had the opportunity for Hunter's title (which Batista did, after it became clear that if he stayed in Evolution, Hunter would never let him out of his shadow). There's also their reactions to the destruction of their respective stables: Hunter felt bad about the broken friendships, but ultimately never regretted what he did. Rollins constantly lied about his relationships with Ambrose and Reigns, stating that he never considered them his "brothers", but there were many tells that he was lying to everyone, including himself. After Triple H betrayed him, the illusion broke, and it became clear that even before then, deep down, he considered breaking up the Shield to be the biggest mistake of his life, one that he was so desperate to fix that he was willing to take a steel chair to the back if it meant one of his brothers forgave him.
      • Roman Reigns and Batista. Batista betrayed the remaining members of Evolution once it became clear he'd never have the spotlight as long as he stayed with them. Reigns was forced to focus on singles career after Rollins betrayed him, and him and Ambrose still remained on good terms. Batista was also always an egotistical jerkass at his core, even as a face, and when he was denied the spotlight one too many times, snapped and allowed his true colors to be shown to the crowd. Reigns, despite the Shield's beginnings, was ultimately an honorable and genuinely good person from the start, and his descent into cocky, asshole-ish behavior was a result of the crowd's vitriol combined with being constantly screwed out of the world title, all of which eventually culminated in him becoming a sociopathic, mafia boss-like heel years later.
  • Forgiveness: The theme of the storyline that eventually led to their reunion and second run. It wasn't just Ambrose and Reigns learning to forgive Rollins — it was also Rollins learning how to forgive himself.
    • Rollins and Reigns eventually made up during the latter half of 2016, after circumstances made them Fire-Forged Friends while combating Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
    • Rollins and Ambrose, however, were a different story. Even after Rollins turned face, other than some brief, heat-of-the-moment team-ups, the two of them still had a lot of tension between them that came to a boil when they both ran afoul of The Miz, his Miztourage, and The Bar. Stuck in an unwilling Enemy Mine situation, Rollins decided it was finally time to bridge the gap between them. As far as Ambrose was concerned, however, that bridge was burnt; even though it became increasingly obvious that he honestly wished it wasn't. Rollins spent weeks trying to earn back Ambrose's forgiveness, only to become increasingly frustrated over Ambrose's constant flip-flopping over it. When Ambrose was finally receptive to the idea, Rollins rejected him, pissing off Ambrose again. The following week, it was finally clear that talking it out was no longer an option, and the two ended up brawling with each other in order to finally release all their frustrations. It was only after that was reconciliation in reach.
  • Freudian Trio: Played with. Ambrose is the Id. Simply put, he's nuts. Rollins plays with the reasoned Superego role, but he's usually the one that breaks up conflicts between the volatile Ambrose and the much more reserved Roman Reigns.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • There are quite a few similarities between The Shield and some other Power Stables that have appeared on RAW over the years. Ambrose quickly goes out of his way to rebuff the comparisons.
      Ambrose: We're not The Nexus. If you're lookin' for the nWo, go buy the DVD.
    • Vickie Guerrero books them into another 11 on 3 match. What's the Shield to do? Instead of defiantly facing all eleven opponents, they seek out opponent after opponent and put them out of action (they Triple Powerbombed Jack Swagger, took out 3MB, took out Brad Maddox and threw Fandango through two tables), cutting the numbers down so it becomes a 5 on 3 match. Then they beat the hell out of the remaining five.
    • On the May 19, 2014 Raw, Triple H proclaimed that no one other than "official personnel" were to be at ringside during a match between Seth Rollins and Batista. However, at the last minute, he appointed himself as the official guest ring announcer, and Randy Orton as the official guest timekeeper. Apparently prepared for this, The Shield were implied to have bullied Raw general manager Brad Maddox into making Reigns and Ambrose official guest ring announcers for the match (all that was said is that Maddox had something to do with the decision, and that he was "in the trainer's room" during the match).
  • Grand Finale: Their match at Fastlane 2019 was presented as this to The Shield as a whole. With Ambrose not resigning with the company thus putting an end to anymore Shield runs for the foreseeable future. This match was seen as wrapping up all the storylines they had had together in a neat little bow. Where they all departed ways as friends despite their rivalries and feuds with each other, they patched things up for one last ride closing the book on any further Shield storylines. Even commentary chimed in on this at the end of the match with the trio hugging in the middle of the ring.
    Corey Graves: And finally, everything ends up exactly as it should be...
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Never had them in the first run, but due to Roman Reigns coming down with a bad case of meningitis and missing the TLC pay-per-view as well as most of the 2017 European tour, they've had a couple.
    • TLC gave us Kurt freaking Angle as the third man. How successful was he, after being virtually retired from wrestling for around 4 years? The crowd chanted a loud "YOU STILL GOT IT".
    • For the first leg of the European tour, Ambrose and Rollins called in "Plan B" - Triple H.
    • The second leg of the tour didn't require a full-time third man, but when Rollins and Ambrose wanted to give one of The New Day a triple powerbomb, they decided on Samoa Joe.
    • Subverted by Jason Jordan, who wants to be the third man of the Shield and replace the injured Ambrose, but who Reigns can't stand and Rollins is only tolerating for the sake of the Tag Team Titles. It's further reinforced by the theme music and the gear - while Angle and Triple H came out with Rollins and Ambrose in tac vests to the Shield music, Jordan uses his own gear and music and comes out solo.
  • The Heart:
    • Seth Rollins acted as this at one point. When the relationship between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns became strained over the course of their late 2013 feud with their former unwitting client CM Punk, one could argue that he was the one keeping The Shield together. Eventually it reached a breaking point…for Seth, causing him to Rage Quit during a match against the Wyatt Family, which he amazingly used to bring the two back on the same page. Ultimately deconstructed, as Rollins pointed out that one of the reasons he turned on them was being tired of being the one that made them get along.
    • Seems to be Ambrose, in their 2017-2018 run. Reigns and Rollins frequently refer to their injured brother and have made it clear that no one can replace him in the Shield. Which makes sense, when you think about it — out of all them, Ambrose is the one who took the group's breakup the hardest, and it was only his forgiveness of Rollins that made their reunion possible in the first place.
    • In fact, an argument can be made that all three members functioned as this at one point both during and after the Shield's initial run. Both Roman and Dean were closer to Seth during their first run. When Seth turned back to face and made amends with Roman, it was Roman who was the Heart during the occasional Shield reunion. When Seth made up with Dean and became Tag Team Champions with him, Dean became the Heart.
    • After Ambrose's return from injury, Reigns returned to the role, as he played peacemaker between Ambrose and Rollins. When he was forced to go on hiatus to battle his leukemia, Ambrose snapped and turned on Rollins a few hours later.
    • Ultimately, it can be argued that the true Heart is the idea of the Shield itself. When all three of them are together and on the same page, they're at their best. But when one of them is gone, it all falls apart for the remaining two. When Ambrose left the company at the start of 2019, Rollins and Reigns were on different brands and ended up drifting apart, and by the second half of 2020, both were heels. Then their January 2022 feud revealed that Reigns never really forgave Rollins for breaking up the stable, suggesting that it's only when the three of them are able to be together as the Shield that they're willing to ignore or let go of whatever personal problems they have with each other.
  • Heel–Face Turn: This happened in early 2014 when they turned against The Authority.
  • Hero Killer: The last we saw of The Undertaker in 2013, he was getting mauled by The Hounds of Justice, effectively killing him (or at least his screen time).
  • He's Back!: Years after their famous split, the Shield finally reunited on RAW on October 9, 2017.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The rare three-way example, both onscreen and arguably in Real Life (Rollins admitted to having a picture of the Shield in his home, and it's a well-known fact that prior to the second brand extension, Reigns and Ambrose were traveling buddies).
  • Homoerotic Subtext: It only got worse after the stable broke up, and the fans can't be blamed for seeing something that isn't there when WWE has occasionally structured their promotion of the Shield to deliberately fan the flames.
    • The Ho Yay between Ambrose and Reigns reached a point where The New Day even referenced their Portmanteau Couple Name on live TV. At one point, Ambrose even started acting like a jealous boyfriend when Reigns started seriously contemplating accepting Randy Orton's help during his feud with Bray Wyatt and the reunited Wyatt Family.
    • Rollins and Reigns didn't have as much as Ambrose and Reigns, but they were Tag Team Champions together at one point and their on-and-off teaming in late 2016 had a lot subtext between them, mainly regarding Reigns' initial reluctance to trust Rollins.
    • However, none of the subtext Reigns has with Ambrose and Rollins can compare to the subtext they have with each other, which only got worse during their blood feud when it mixed with Foe Romance Subtext (at one point even including an Anguished Declaration of Love). Of particular note is their reconciliation storyline in 2017 (which was essentially a prologue to the inevitable Shield reunion), that basically boiled down to a (b)romantic Will They or Won't They? situation. With Ambrose and Rollins acting like Tsunderes to each other, each and every single one of their interactions just dripping with Belligerent Sexual Tension, eventually even those fans who usually ignore the inherent homoerotic aspect of wrestling were telling them to screw by the time of the segment where they finally made up.
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Everyone who's just stood there while The Shield enters. It takes them a good minute or so to get to the ring going through the crowd. No one thinks of grabbing a weapon, or, you know, RUNNING? They're not coming down the aisle, hit the locker room! Where all your damn friends are!
    • Ryback defied this at one point, leaving the ring during The Shield's entrance, only to re-enter with a chair when they got there. Granted, he was also a heel and would eventually break in the chair on Cena's back, which would make this something of a double subversion.
    • Averted by Randy Orton on the August 5, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw. After the team of Orton, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena defeated The Shield by disqualification, Orton struck with an RKO to Bryan first, and then Cena (each unprovoked). He procured his Money in the Bank briefcase, and a referee, from ringside, and appeared ready to cash in his contract on then-WWE Champion John Cena... until The Shield made their way back towards the ring. Orton, who was on the apron, decided that discretion is the better part of valor, and left Bryan and Cena to the Hounds (he retained his Money in the Bank contract since his cash-in match had not officially started).
    • John Cena once rallied the entire locker room to come out on the Shield to let them know they weren't going to let them continue to get away with their attacks. This probably would have spelled the end of the trio, if it weren't for the fact that they never did this again: Not long after this event, the Shield were brought on as the muscle for The Authority, and Cena (probably the only person in the locker room that would have had the pull to try this again) went down with an injury. Perhaps the only other person who would have the clout to deal with them was CM Punk, and he was too obsessed with Paul Heyman at the time to deal with the Authority. Everyone was too scared of getting fired to mount up any resistance against them.
    • Averted in their face incarnation, as they're every bit as pragmatic as before.
  • Iconic Outfit: Their black military attire overall, but their protective vests in particular.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • JBL's explanations for the Shield's targets of "injustice," such as Randy Orton, tend to be rather skewed. For example, Orton was targeted for "destroying" Brad Maddox's hopes of a WWE contract, even though Maddox asked for the match and knew the level of opposition he'd face would be a crap-shoot at best.
    • The logic that The Shield itself runs on in general is pretty dubious at best. When they debuted and appeared to be hired stooges for CM Punk and Paul Heyman, their attacks on whoever Punk was feuding with at the time made sense. Since that connection was dropped and they've gone off on their own, what they consider "injustices" would seem to be what most reasonable viewers would call "people living their lives and going about their business."
  • Irony:
    • Each member of the group won their first WWE World Heavyweight Championship by pinning the member of the group who pinned the member not directly involved in their victory - Rollins pinned Reigns; Reigns pinned Ambrose; Ambrose pinned Rollins.
      • On top of that, the reason Reigns pinned Ambrose was Rollins vacating the title due to injury. Upon his return, Rollins swiftly won the title back from Reigns, only to immediately lose it to Ambrose.
    • Despite being the closest to each other the longest, Reigns and Ambrose never become Tag Team Champions.
    • Their Grand Slam feats:
      • Rollins was the first to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but the last to complete the Grand Slam; Ambrose was the last to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but the first to complete the Grand Slam.
      • Despite all members being certified main eventers, none of them completed the Grand Slam by winning a World Title.
      • Ambrose was the first to win a singles Championship in WWEnote , but completed the Grand Slam by winning the Tag Team titles; Rollins (see previous note) and Reigns won their first WWE gold by claiming the Tag Team Championships, but completed the Grand Slam by winning a singles (Intercontinental) title.
      • Despite being groomed as WWE's franchise player, Roman completed the Grand Slam on a random episode of Raw instead of a major PPV like Dean (SummerSlam) and Seth (WrestleMania) did.
    • In the long run, Ambrose (as Jon Moxley) turned out to be the most stable member of the Shield. After he left WWE, both Rollins and Reigns made heel turns that saw a sharp decrease in their mental health. Rollins became a Practically Joker-like Psychopathic Man Child with a seriously messed up messiah complex, while Reigns became a sociopathic mob boss who for all intents and purposes gaslighted and press-ganged his own cousins into becoming his lackeys. Meanwhile, Moxley is a violent individual with a general "I do what I want" attitude, but is still relatively saner by comparison to his two former teammates. It's even been implied that his departure is part of the reason why the other two became such a mess in the first place.
  • Jitter Cam: A couple of The Shield's promos have looked like something out of The Blair Witch Project.
  • The Juggernaut:
    • They are this as a collective. They've been forced into retreat once or twice when the numbers were even, but they've never been laid out in the middle of a ring and they STILL (and this is going on six months now) haven't lost a match as a team on PPV, having taken on and defeated pretty much all of WWE's main event faces at some point or another during that time span.
    • On the second-to-last part, they've been recently out-Juggernauted by The Wyatt Family on both PPV and RAW.
  • Justice Will Prevail: Their claim, even though they mostly ambush Faces and give them No Holds Barred Beatdowns for no apparent reason.
  • Knight Templar: Their crusade against injustice, which apparently means mostly going after fan favorite wrestlers, who clearly haven't committed any outright injustices. However, they have assaulted fellow heels at least three times— dismantling 3MB on one occasion (saving Triple H, a babyface at the time, from a three-on-one against 3MB; in hindsight, this seems to be an oddly prophetic occurrence), giving Brad Maddox the beat-down of his life after he called The Shield out to the ring, with no backup of his own, and brawling with The Wyatt Family after the latter interrupted a tag match with CM Punk and Daniel Bryan.
  • The Leader:
    • Towards the end of 2013, Ambrose veered into Bad Boss territory. His ego (and the fact that he was the only championship-holder in the group) caused him to verbally demean (if only indirectly) Reigns and Rollins. His claims that he's the best of the three members of The Shield garnered looks of frustration from Reigns and Rollins, but the group remained a solid, cohesive unit.
      • The waters muddied even further going into 2014, where it seemed that Ambrose and Rollins defer to Reigns, if anything. At least on commentary, Reigns is pushed as the overall strongest member.
    • Ultimately, the Shield could be said to be a team of leaders: all three are part Headstrong and Charismatic, with Ambrose also being part Mastermind and Reigns also part Levelheaded while Rollins possesses traits of all four leadership styles. To prove this point, all three members have stood in the center of their Fists of Excellence pose, and when it comes to non-to-semi-kayfabe interviews, each man frequently points to all three of them as being leaders, potential top guys, the best workers in the company, etc.
    • Ever since Seth Rollins turned heel, he claimed that he was the leader and mastermind behind the Shield and that without him, they were nothing. He also claimed that he was the only one capable of making Dean and Roman get along and work together, which is a claim that could easily be argued.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Seth and Roman, both overlapping this with Hunk (the latter more so).
  • Meaningful Name: The Shield name's inspiration, while obvious, becomes more significant when you remember both the FX show's Strike Team, which they more resemble as heels (taking bribes and protecting clients based on who pays the most), and the Marvel Comics agency, which they more resemble as faces (efficiently dispensing justice from the shadows).
  • Military Alphabet: Their entrance theme begins with radio chatter of them spelling out "Shield" in the NATO Military Alphabet.
  • Mirror Character: In hindsight, to Evolution, something that became even more glaringly obvious after they broke up. Seth has Triple H's ruthlessness, propensity for scheming, and gigantic ego. Dean's as insane as Randy (possibly even more so), and was only driven even more insane by Seth's betrayal, his hatred consuming him to the point of obsession — much like how Randy started hearing voices because he was ousted from Evolution thanks to Hunter's jealousy. Roman, despite the WWE's desperate attempts to make him the next John Cena, shares similarities with Batista, being the power of the group who didn't talk often but nonetheless had a massive presence. Looking back at it now, Hunter must have realized he was looking at a younger Evolution in many ways, which is why he was able to get into Seth's head and manipulate their break up. As it goes, the Shield ended up mirroring Evolution's path to the letter, in that all three of the Shield's members ended up becoming megastars in part due to their stable's success, much like how Evolution launched the careers of Batista and Randy Orton.
  • Morality Chain: Despite being the one most likely to fly off the handle during their initial run, Ambrose turned out to be this for both of his brothers in the long run. After he left the company, both Rollins and Reigns suffered Sanity Slippage and made heel turns.
  • Morality Pet: For Roman. He notably kept the entire group's motif (gear and entrance theme specifically) for years following the group's initial separation, and unlike Seth and Dean, Roman never talks badly about the group during a later Heel run (the closest Roman did was stating he's now bigger than the group). When Roman and Seth (both Heels) were feuding for the former's Universal Championship during early 2022, Roman outright says deep inside he really couldn't forgive Seth for his betrayal, and when Seth mocked Roman during the actual match by entering with the group's music and gear, Roman was in clear Tranquil Fury until he eventually snapped.
  • Motive Decay:
    • After they won their titles (Reigns/Rollins as Tag Team Champions, and Ambrose as United States Champion), they started preaching about "justice" less and less. After a year, they'd basically abandoned all pretense and simply just beat the crap out of whoever they didn't like.
    • Subverted following their face turn, when they began taking Triple H and The Authority to the task for their flagrant abuses of power throughout the preceding year.
  • Mr. Fanservice: All three members are popular with the female fanbase.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Thanks to The Shield attacking Daniel Bryan and Kane, the two actually started to get along. In addition, Daniel Bryan took a massive level in badass - enough to get the attention of John Cena, who named him number one contender for the WWE Championship... Bryan would then go on to defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship!
    • In the 2014 Royal Rumble, all three members managed to get in the ring at the same time, with the assumed plan that they would save themselves for last, with no strong feelings against whomever won. And with the three of them together, that plan was practically guaranteed. Unfortunately, Ambrose is kind of a dick (and also mentally unstable), and he tried to eliminate Reigns far sooner. Not only did this screw the entire team out of winning (especially since Reigns eliminated the two other members in retaliation), it also easily planted the biggest seed of discord amongst the group. Dean Ambrose may very well have brought about the end of The Shield himself.
    • For a while things were looking very much on their way there, what with the tension between Reigns and Ambrose boiling over with each passing week even during their budding war of Cool Versus Awesome with The Wyatt Family. But then Seth Rollins became increasingly tired of pulling them together and walked out on them in the middle of the second of two six-man tags between the trios, forcing them to confront him so he could air his frustrations and physically get everything out of the three's system. The result: what didn't kill the Shield only made them stronger than ever…with their justice redirected towards those who tried to use them blatantly with no proper cause but for power.
    • The Miz and The Bar. Miz made it a point to antagonize all three former members of the stable at the same time, and, proving himself as Too Dumb to Live, pointedly dismissed the possibility of the Shield reuniting and calling all the rumors "hype". He conveniently forgot that a) Reigns and Ambrose remained on good terms long after the Shield's dissolution, b) Reigns and Rollins had made up thanks to Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens the year prior, and c) Ambrose and Rollins, whose issues with each other were literally the biggest obstacle to a Shield reunion, had just made up, an event that was largely Miz's fault. Largely Miz's fault, we say, because Ambrose and Rollins were still on the verge of possibly imploding had Cesaro and Sheamus, the Tag Team Champions at the time, not come out to jump them while they were fighting each other. And after losing the tag team titles to Ambrose and Rollins as a result of their idiocy, when Miz approached them to jump Reigns and keep him away from the Intercontinental Championship, they actually accepted and did so in spite of Reigns' absolute best efforts to have them all stay independent. It seems it never once occurred to Miz or the Bar that the reason the Shield hadn't reunited now that they were on the same page was because no one had given them a reason to — until now, that is.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: This is pretty much their hat. Not only do they do it often, they're actually better at it than your average "Pack of wolves" heel group who just jumps unsuspecting wrestlers from behind and uses its numbers advantage to serve up the beatdown. The beginnings of their first run consisted of them routinely taking down trios made up of former world champions on a regular basis simply because of how well-coordinated and locked-on-point their attacks are.
  • No Sneak Attacks: Almost every time The Shield shows up to kick some ass, there's a clear warning of their arrival (see Oh, Crap! below). This leads to the commentators pleading with the soon-to-be victims to just run (or at least grab a weapon— see Honor Before Reason above) when the music blasts through the arena speakers.
  • Not So Similar: The Shield isn't that similar to Evolution, because when it came down to it, they genuinely loved and cared for each other, and no matter how many times they end up fighting each other, they'll still support each other over everyone else in the end. Conversely, Evolution was born out of convenience — Triple H needed muscle to back his title reign, and Orton and Batista needed tickets to the big time. When the latter two started infringing on his spotlight, he didn't hesitate to kick them both to the curb for it. Even their reunion was little more than three guys working together to try and get rid of The Shield because Triple H wouldn't give either man another title shot until he could be sure The Shield wouldn't be in the way.
  • Odd Name Out:
    • Roman, Dean, and Seth. This even extends to their real first names; Joe (Reigns), Jonathan (Ambrose), and Colby (Rollins). At least the second letter of their real names are the same ("O").
    • (Stage) Surname wise, we have Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • You've just finished a match, your music is playing, you're feeling pretty good about yourself.....SIERRA. HOTEL. INDIA. ECHO. LIMA. DELTA. SHIELD. Cue three guys in combat vests handing you your ass.
    • The Shield themselves had this reaction on the September 23, 2013 RAW, where Triple H put them in a match against Kofi Kingston, Rob Van Dam, The Usos, Prime Time Players, Dolph Ziggler, Zack Ryder, R-Truth, Justin Gabriel... *gasp*... and Daniel Bryan... and then again when one of the Usos hit the Superfly Splash on Reigns and pinned him for the very first time in WWE.
    • The Miz had this reaction on the Oct 9, 2017 episode of Raw when he realized that "the rumors [of a Shield reunion] were true," and that Reigns, Rollins, and Ambrose were all coming after him.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Nearly every feud they were in when they first debuted. Whether it was against John Cena (8 years older) Kane (18 years older) or The Undertaker (20 years older) etc. They were portrayed as trying to make a name for themselves against the older established talent.
  • Only in It for the Money:
    • They were hired by Paul Heyman to aid Punk, and when Punk's title reign was over, they pretty much went back to doing whatever they damn well pleased.
    • After the group broke up, Rollins said that he had never considered Reigns and Ambrose "brothers". He said they were "business partners" and that they'd taken him as far as they could, so when Triple H made him an offer, he made a business decision and took it. There have been hints that he was lying about the "we were never brothers" part, though, most likely to convince himself.
  • Only Sane Man: Originally, it was Reigns. Ambrose was certifiably insane while Rollins had a tendency to dive off high things and ended up being the one to break up the team, showing his sadistic streak during his time with The Authority. Reigns was the most stable member with best handle on his temper and the least amount of sadism. In the long run, however, it turned out to be Ambrose. Years of fan vitriol and being screwed out of the world title, in addition to the trauma over the Shield's original break up, turned Reigns into a full-blown sociopathic mafia boss. Meanwhile, after his big face run as Universal Champion went south, Rollins underwent a severe amount of Sanity Slippage that saw him developing a messiah complex and eventually culminated in him becoming a straight up Joker-expy. By comparison, Ambrose was the only member of the team to make peace over the Shield's end, and left the company relatively stable (if extremely violent).
  • Popularity Power: The Shield is one of the most popular factions in the history of the entire company. In present WWE proper, only The New Day can really compare. Even the widely hated Roman Reigns shakes a lot of the fan's vitriol when the stable is together, to the point that a crowd even mostly cheered him when he defeated The Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship and become the second member of the group to become a Grand Slam Champion.
  • Pseudo-Crisis: Vince and Stephanie are in the ring and the Shield interrupts them as the show goes to commercial! What will The Shield do to the McMahons? What awesome storyline will start? And... nothing happens. The McMahons "leave the ring without incident."
  • The Psycho Rangers:
    • Any group that goes against them turns into this. They portray their opponents as being potentially the three strongest guys they could find (three former multiple-time world champions in Randy Orton, Sheamus, and Big Show, for example), but they don't have the united front that comes with being a real team and usually fall due to lacking the superior coordination of The Shield. It's an interesting example of the good guys being the Psycho Rangers instead of the bad guys.
      • This might explain why Christian and The Usos were able to defeat them in their first match with them; The Usos are twin brothers and Christian is one of the tag team greats, giving them the united front most of their opponents lack.
    • This dynamic seemed to flip in their feud with The Wyatt Family. Rowan and Harper were fanatically devoted to Bray Wyatt, while Ambrose and Reigns of The Shield had been somewhat at each other's throats with Rollins trying his best to act as mediator.
    • This trope was discussed in the buildup to their match with a re-formed Evolution; The Shield noted that, the three remaining members' egos notwithstanding, their paths had completely separated since the days of their original formation. Trips had become more of a backstage presence and was just recently getting back into ring competition, Batista had dabbled in Hollywood a la early-career Dwayne Johnson, and Randy had hit something of a rough patch as far as his record was concerned. Because of this, The Shield contended that Evolution couldn't beat them. They were right.
  • Putting the Band Back Together:
    • The Shield reunited in October 2017 to beat down a group of opponents that none of them could handle individually.
    • The trope was specifically mentioned by Reigns upon his return from leukemia in February 2019, as he implored Rollins to try & make things right with Ambrose before he left the company upon his contract expiring.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The group was often accused of being this for CM Punk, thanks to their penchant of coming to his aid during title matches or lie detector tests. As it turned out, they sort of were… but without Punk's knowledge, as they had been hired by Paul Heyman, with Heyman being the one giving them orders. As of the Sept. 23, 2013 episode of Monday Night Raw, The Hounds serve as such for Triple H (and, by extension, Randy Orton) after Hunter and Randy turned heel. The Shield themselves turned against The Authority after Kane tried to attack Rollins when they didn't do as he wanted.
  • Rage Quit:
    • A team-wide version — if a member (or members) of the team is getting knocked around and looks to be losing the match, the others who aren't participating will often attack, resulting in a DQ win for the opponent, rather than letting their teammate(s) submit or get pinned clean. And then it's usually at that point that the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown starts.
    • On the March 3, 2014 episode of Raw, Seth Rollins grew frustrated with Reigns and Ambrose's constant bickering and miscommunication, and walked out on them during a match with The Wyatt Family, leaving Reigns and Ambrose to get hammered. Perhaps surprisingly, this eventually made the group stronger.
  • Red Baron: Michael Cole has dubbed the group "The Hounds of Justice," which WWE later ran with in their merchandising. He's also dubbed Seth Rollins "The Architect," Roman Reigns "The Powerhouse," and Dean Ambrose "The Lunatic Fringe."
  • Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe example regarding Jason Jordan. After Ambrose got put on the shelf, Jordan replaced him as Rollins' tag team partner and won the RAW Tag Titles with him. That is essentially the only reason Rollins tolerates him, and it's obvious to anyone watching that he clearly wishes it was Ambrose in Jordan's place. Reigns can't even bother with that much, and blatantly hates Jordan.
  • The Rival:
    • The fans got to enjoy a long feud between the Shield and The Wyatt Family, and even when the feud proper was over, this matchup was revisited several more times, usually with very entertaining results.
    • The New Day were this during the build up to Survivor Series 2017. Both teams were technically on the same side of the heel/face spectrum, just on different shows — but that didn't stop the New Day from costing the Ambrose and Rollins the RAW Tag Titles. The following week, the Shield confronted then-GM Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon and all but demanded a match with the New Day at the PPV.
  • Rogues Gallery:
    • The "WWE Universe," as The Shield does not believe the decisions of the company should be made based on popularity contests; The Shield was formed to ensure the WWE Universe would not always get what it wanted.
    • While they varied their targets during the first month or so of inception, they very obviously had a special dislike for Ryback, and screwed him out of WWE Title wins at least three times in as many months. Their dislike of him essentially stemmed from him joining the main roster and being pushed to the top so quickly while they had been forced to keep toiling away in developmental. (And, actually, a good part of the IWC sort of agrees.)
    • They developed a huge rivalry with Cody Rhodes and Goldust in late 2013, and the team of Rhodes and Goldust stand as one of only two units to defeat (any combination of) The Shield by pinfall more than once (the other being The Wyatt Family). To a lesser degree, they also built a rivalry with Team Hell No.
    • As of mid April 2014, The Authority, and the reformed Evolution.
    • The Wyatt Family.
  • Signature Move:
    • Collectively, their triple-assist powerbomb. And if there happens to be a table around, rest assured the victim's going straight through it.
    • As all three members gradually developed into main event-level singles competitors, they all developed their own individual signature moves. This came into play during their second run in 2017, which arguably made them even more dangerous, as now any one of them can end a match at a moment's notice.
      • Roman Reigns: The Superman Punch and his Finishing Move, a spear.
      • Dean Ambrose: Rebound Lariat, with his Finishing Move being a snap double underhook DDT called Dirty Deeds.
      • Seth Rollins: Turnbuckle Powerbomb. He used a short-arm high knee called the King's Landing for a while in late 2017, but as of 2018, has returned to his true Finishing Move, the Curbstomp.
  • Sore Loser:
    • Many times, if a loss was imminent for any member(s), or immediately following a loss, the entire group would attack the (would-be) winner together. See also Rage Quit above.
    • Played with at times, as the same thing happens when one of the group wins.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Downplayed, but still very apparent. Whether or not you believe Seth Rollins is the only reason that the team hasn't imploded (due to Reigns' and Ambrose's constant bickering), when they need to send a message or actually get into physical confrontations (with rival wrestlers/stables), they work as a unit better than (arguably) any three-man team in WWE history. They pretty much pretend that nothing's wrong amongst the three of them, and you'd never know that's false if you only watched certain instances of The Shield's interaction with one another.. Then, things went from "Downplayed" to "up to eleven" in less than a week. Following Seth Rollins' Rage Quit on the March 3, 2014 episode of Raw, Rollins called for a "Summit of The Shield" on SmackDown four days later. After some angry verbal jousting between himself and Ambrose, Dean lost his cool (shocker) and shoved Rollins... twice. Then Roman Reigns pushed Ambrose in response. Then Rollins slapped Ambrose. Then Ambrose slugged Rollins in the mouth. At this point, Seth Rollins refused to retaliate and took one for the team, before imploring Reigns and Ambrose to place their fists next to his in The Shield's established "Together we stand" pose. They both did.
  • Third Time's The Charm: The only time the Shield ever beat the Wyatt Family was the third match between the two stables. They probably would've won the fourth one, had it not been for Evolution distracting them.
  • Token Minority: Roman is the only person of color in the group, being of Samoan heritage.note 
  • True Companions:
    • Played wonderfully straight throughout the end of 2013 and into 2014. There was so much tension between Ambrose and Reigns that just about any other team/stable in WWE history would have long since imploded on itself— it seemed painfully obvious that WWE's creative team was setting up a team-wide split (possibly to turn Roman Reigns face and give him a push). However, thanks to the fact that Seth Rollins is apparently the chessmaster of the group (see Batman Gambit above), they actually became stronger. Also see Teeth-Clenched Teamwork above.
    • Since Rollins' betrayal he's claimed that while Reigns and Ambrose looked at The Shield as a brotherhood and he himself played to that image, the truth is he considered them nothing more than business partners. Oddly enough, Seth Rollins may have just started setting himself up as the new Ultimate Opportunist by deconstructing this very trope.
    • Played straight between Reigns and Ambrose since the separation. Most notably, at Payback 2015 during the Fatal 4 Way involving all three Shield boys and Randy Orton, the three Triple Powerbombed Orton, then Ambrose and Reigns beat down Rollins. Left to each other, Reigns noted "Not much else to do!", prompting a "'fraid not" from Ambrose. Reigns responded "Loser buys the beers!" before the two got back into the ring with the intent of fighting honorably.
    • The biggest obstacle to the Shield's reunion in 2017 was the broken trust between Ambrose and Rollins. Reigns forgave Rollins during the latter half of 2016, after the two became Fire-Forged Friends again while acting cohesively against Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Ambrose and Rollins, however, still had a ton of tension between them even after Rollins turned face. Part of this is because, during the initial run, the two of them were closest pair of the the trio; more than one person has remarked that the two of them acted more like a tag team than Rollins and Reigns did, and that pair became the WWE Tag Team Champions at one point. Dean took Seth's betrayal far, far worse than Roman did, and the resulting blood feud lasted over two years. And yet, despite all that, despite everything that happened between them ever since the Shield broke up, when Seth offered his back to Dean, willingly allow himself to be hit with a steel chair like he had done to his brothers all those years ago...Dean ultimately couldn't go through with it. It took weeks of arguing and brawling to get there, but the two finally reunited as a team and forgave each other, and after that the re-formation of the Shield became inevitable.
  • The Unfettered: Subverted. Ever since their alliance with Triple H, this has been toned down for the stable (not to say that they follow his orders without question). And Ambrose, while plenty crazy, seems to try to keep some semblance of focus for the sake of the team. (Operative word being "try.") There's no telling how far off the deep end Ambrose would go without Seth Rollins to pull him back occasionally. This was actually lampshaded by Rollins after he turned on them.
  • Unstoppable Rage
    • In a traditional five-on-five Survivor Series tag-team elimination match, Reigns and Rollins found themselves at a five-on-two disadvantage (much different than what The Hounds are used to) towards the end of the bout. Two Spears from Roman Reigns take out Jimmy Uso and Cody Rhodes. Rollins' curb stomp ("The Blackout") then eliminates Jey Uso. After Rey Mysterio pins Rollins, Reigns is alone against Rey and Goldust. Two Spears later, Roman Reigns has pinned both men, giving him four of the five eliminations for his team (tying a record for Survivor Series 5-on-5 matches). There was very minimal cheatingnote , no fluke pins in their favor, and no ref bumps: just two teammates who, together, combined to be greater than the sum of their talents. Their teamwork and level of skill was so good that their cohesion as a group negated the fact that they were outnumbered five to two and that they were heels!
    • At the 2014 Elimination Chamber in a six-man tag match, the Wyatts actually turned the numbers game on The Shield by managing to take on and take out the members individually, Bray Wyatt brawling off with Ambrose to parts unknown (he wasn't seen again) while Luke Harper and Erick Rowan double-powerbombed Seth Rollins through the commentators' table... cue Roman Reigns fighting off the Wyatt Family single-handedly up until he tried to Spear Bray Wyatt, upon which Harper dove in the way and took the Spear, allowing Wyatt to make a comeback and finish Reigns off too.
  • Ur-Example: Of the effectiveness of the WWE NXT developmental system. Individually or together, there is no question that the Shield are by far the most successful wrestlers of their generation in WWE. Within four years of their WWE careers, together all three have won multiple world titles, main evented numerous PPVs, and more-or-less carried the company on their backs. Two of them have already become Grand Slam Champions, with the third only needing one more title to join them (a feat he succeeded at WrestleMania 34). When people look back at WWE history decades from now, they will see the Shield as the ones that defined this era, and the ultimate success story of WWE NXT.
  • Villainous Breakdown: While it was short, it was definitely sweet. When The Wyatt Family attacked John Cena (who the the Wyatts were feuding with at the time), interfering in one of the Shield's six-man tag team matches, The Shield lost the match by DQ, locking them out of the 2014 Elimination Chamber match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Thus setting off the chain of events that ended up wrecking TheAuthority's power base. To so say that The Shield (the once cool, collective, and most-feared unit) are now left in a very enraged stat with what just transpired would be an understatement.
  • Villainous Friendship: Type I. Even given the fact that Ambrose was liable to fly off the handle at any moment (even towards his own teammates), the three of them clearly had each others' backs and even went on off-camera field trips to the zoo. This continued when they turned face and then, in Dean and Roman's case, after Seth betrayed them and they decided to individualize. And despite Seth's initial claims of merely terminating a business deal, he's given tells that deep down somewhere he does miss the brotherhood, culminating in them finally reuniting over three years after the betrayal.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Downplayed between Reigns and Ambrose, since the tension was glaringly obvious. Calling the two "best buds" would probably be a lie (at least before Rollins' heel turn). At some point, Ambrose's admittedly impressive (if not just long) reign as United States Champion massively inflated his ego, to the point that he declared himself the best individual wrestler in The Shield. This is despite the fact that Roman Reigns damn near squashed Mark Henry on the February 17, 2014 edition of Raw, when Ambrose got dominated by the World's Strongest Man the week before. Reigns, at the time, also had a (tied) Survivor-Series record, and a standalone Royal-Rumble record, to his name (see Unstoppable Rage/Villainous Valour above). The only thing Ambrose really had going for him was his status as United States Champion— a title he defended a grand total of 16 times in 351 days before losing it on the May 5, 2014 episode of Monday Night Raw. That's an average of about once every 22 days; most champions are expected to defend their titles every other week at the very least... plus the fact that 9 of those 16 matches ended in DQ or count-out. After the team nearly experienced a meltdown in late 2013/early 2014, Ambrose's ego seems to have cooled down significantly, however, as has the tension within The Shield. Even through Rollins' betrayal, or perhaps because of it, Dean and Roman don't seem to be missing a beat, and by the time of the Shield's second run, the tension had become a distant memory and the two became bonafide Heterosexual Life-Partners.
    • During the Shield's second run, Ambrose and Rollins are the Vitriolic Best Buds (despite being Tag Team Champions together), as Ambrose never wastes a chance to remind Rollins of the betrayal, albeit with none of the heat that used to color it when they were enemies. Despite that, the two still fight together like a well-oiled machine, and close affection between them has returned in spades.
  • Wham Line: Triple H: "There's always a Plan B." Cue Rollins beating the hell out of Reigns and Ambrose.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • During the course of the Shield vs. The Wyatt Family, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose got into a brawl that spilled over into the crowd. While Rollins' fate was obvious after Rowan and Harper appeared to double Spinebuster him through a table Ambrose was never seen again, leaving people (his fellow Shield members included) to ask this question.
  • Worthy Opponent: Four candidates.
    • The night after defeating Evolution at Extreme Rules, the Shield issued a challenge for a rematch just to prove the first victory wasn't a fluke.
    • The Wyatt Family also has a case. Their match against one another at Elimination Chamber 2014 is considered one of the best for both stables, and The Shield is a meager 1-3 against The Wyatts, with the Wyatts winning by pinfall all three times (they're the only team to defeat any combination of The Shield by pinfall more than three times, and one of only two teams to do so twice, the other being...)
    • Cody Rhodes and Goldust. They dethroned Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins as tag team champions, and The Shield (in the form of Reigns and Rollins) is 1-2 against Rhodes and Goldust.
    • The New Day. The Shield barely won their match against the New Day at Survivor Series and put over their opponents in an online video immediately afterwards.
  • Wrestling Family: All three members either came from one (Roman is part of the prestiguous Samoan Dynasty) or eventually formed one (Dean married commentator Renee Paquette/Young in 2017, Seth married fellow wrestler Becky Lynch in 2021).
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: They always have a reason to explain how whatever they did was justified if pressed, even if it comes to acting as the mercenaries they say they are not or screwing someone out of envy.



Video Example(s):


Return of The Shield

After The Miz runs his mouth yet again, Roman Reigns reunites The Shield to confront him and his entourage.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / PuttingTheBandBackTogether

Media sources: